Take Part In A Century Of Italian Dining At Ralph’s Italian Restaurant

Update 10/12/11: Ralph’s has just made some changes to the dinner and lunch menu so some of the things I ate are no longer “Midtown Lunch” budget friendly. They have, however, added sandwiches like chicken parm and homemade roast pork that are under $10.

With new food trucks and restaurants opening constantly, its easy to forget about the staples that have been around forever. At Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, started by Italian immigrants, keeping Philadelphia fed with good Italian cooking has been the goal for 100 years. Now, a long history alone is not going to win me over, i.e. Snocky’s. But the lunchtime crowd gave me a feeling there was more than just a beautiful story of the American Dream at play.

To start, a plate of mussels ($7.95) in a bright red sauce is dangerous, because you will want to dip a whole loaf of bread in that sauce, leaving no room for the rest of your lunch. I was happy to note there was mussel meat in each shell, no empties or closed fellows in the bowl.

The classic veal parm sandwich ($9.25), with thinly sliced veal covered generously with cheese and sauce and accompanied by roasted peppers,  is one good way to go here.

But the buttery, lemon chicken sorrento sauce over a tender piece of chicken breast was a surprising favorite ($8.75). More bread dipping (that was refilled immediately) was inevitable.

If you thought that was enough food, you are given pasta or garlicky escarole on the side of the chicken. Might as well choose the greens, you’ve probably had enough carbs from the bread at this point, I know I did. Plus you may want to save carb points for dessert.

Tough through the pain of your full belly and have some cannoli cake, it’s moist and not too sweet. Or you might want to look into the homemade cannolis.

At Ralph’ s you will find this handsome bunch working in the kitchen and the front of the house- the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation of the original Ralph’s family. How cute is that?

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Classic Italian food at a place with rich history
  • Buttery chicken, garlicky greens, bright tomato sauce

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • You better allot some time, this lunch is meant to be taken at a leisurely pace

Ralph’s Italian Restaurant, 760 S 9th St (@ Catherine St), 215 627-6011



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